The Supreme Court ruled that the control over civil services, including the Indian Administrative Services, rests with the AAP-led Delhi government. However, they have no jurisdiction over land, and law and order issues.
The five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud gave this unanimous decision on the grounds that if the services are excluded from its legislative and executive domain, then the ministers and the executive, responsible for formulating policies in the territory of NCTD would be excluded from controlling the civil service officers who implement such executive decisions.
The CJI said, “The legislative and executive power of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) over entry 41 shall not extend over to services related to public order, police and land. However, legislative and executive power over services such as IAS or joint cadre services, which are relevant for the for the implementation for the policies and the vision of NCTD in terms of day to day administration of the region shall lie with the NCTD.”
Chronology of the case
The current verdict overturned the ruling of the two-judge bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan in 2019. The bench gave a split ruling against the Delhi government. The case was then referred to a three-judge bench in 2022, led by CJI NV Ramana. However, the Centre requested that the case be referred to a higher bench, so it can hold the power to make transfers and posting of officers in Delhi, which is the face of the nation.
The court had agreed that the issue would need an authoritative pronouncement by a Constitution Bench set up in accordance with Article 145(3) of the Constitution. Article 145(3) deals with the setting up of a Constitution Bench comprising at least five judges “for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution. Thereafter, the case was transferred to the current bench.
AAP leadership hails the decision
After a long row over the issue, the AAP leaders welcomed the decision saying they thank the honourable supreme court for providing justice to the people of Delhi.
AAP leaders, including Atishi, have welcomed the decision through her tweet, saying that the Supreme Court has reinstated the rights of the Delhi government.